Art & Industry 2000 is a biennial festival which has brought challenging and innovative visual arts programme to public places in Christchurch. Combining the resources and personnel of industry and public funders with the creativity of artists, it is the first festival of its kind in New Zealand and has quickly established itself as a leading event in Christchurch's diverse cultural calendar.
As a part of the Art & Industry programme, The Physics Room presents Register / Test Pattern, a site specific installation by Auckland based artist Leigh Martin. Martin's work questions the role and profile of painting in contemporary society as a cultural signifier and maker of meaning. For Martin, this has involved investigating and rethinking traditional and contemporary strategies employed by painters in the light of new visualizing technologies and processes that have altered the way in which paintings are not only being constructed but also interpreted and critiqued.
For Register / Test Pattern, Martin has worked with paint manufacturers Dulux, utilizing their decorators paint to create formal, abstracted images painted directly onto the gallery walls. A deliberate tonal rendering of the shades and tones depicted in photos the gallery initally sent him, Register / Test Pattern fixes a brief, photographic moment in time, nearly a year after the actual photos were taken. Referencing both display charts for home decorators, and traditional geometric abstraction, Martin's work inhabits the space totally, reinterpreting the conventional white cube with a palette of 'Guacamole', 'Muted Mint' and 'Refuge', from a range of colours produced specifically by Dulux for the New Zealand audience. Through it's dual placement in a gallery and simultaneously as a part of a festival pairing art and the world of commerce, Register / Test Pattern makes explicit the territorial nature of high art, inciting the viewer to an examination of their own presumptions about the status of cultural information and sites in which it is displayed.
Reviews, Essays & Articles
The Press, 2000 Nov. 22, p. 38
Leigh Martin - Registered Test Pattern; Harrell Fletcher - Cars and Houses.